What needle should I use? How to match your sewing needle to your project
Hey ya’ll, today we’re going to talk about choosing the right sewing machine needle. I rarely mention which specific needle I used on a project, and then sometimes I get questions about what specific needle I used, so today’s post is going to clear that up.
I even made a video about needles and which ones I use for what. You can watch it below, or on YouTube here.
In summation, for those of you who skipped the video, if I don’t mention which needle I used, it’s because it was the 80/12 universal needle I use for 80% of my sewing.
What do the numbers on sewing needles mean?
Europeans and Americans size their needles differently, which is why you’ll see two numbers on sewing needles. The larger number, the bigger the needle for both. European needle sizes refer to millimeter measurements, in that a 100 needle is 1 mm in diameter. So if you see a 100/16 needle, the 100 is the European size and the 16 is the American size.
How to Choose the Right Sewing Machine Needle
- Match the fabric type. Universal needles will work for many fabrics, but you might need to switch to a ballpoint/jersey or stretch needle for knits or a microtex/sharp for tightly woven knit fabrics (like ripstop nylon). And of course, special fabrics like leather require a leather needle.
- Match the fabric thickness. The bigger the numbers on the needle, the bigger the needle. 80/12 needles will work for most midweight fabrics, but go to smaller needles for thinner fabrics and bigger needles for thick fabrics.
- Match the thread. If you’re using a thicker thread, you need a larger needle. Higher numbered thread weights are thinner threads, lower numbered weights are thicker.
Where to Buy Sewing Needles
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. All affiliate links are identified with (affiliate link) after the link or a commissions earned statement above the link(s).
Below are affiliate links to some of my favorite sewing needles; I tend to prefer Schmetz and Klassé brands.
- 80/12 Universal Needles
- 75/11 Universal Needles
- 70/10 Universal Needles
- 90/14 Universal Needles
- Jersey Needles
- Stretch Needles
- Leather Needles
- Twin Ballpoint Needles
- Jeans Topstitching Needles
- Microtex Needles
Matching Your Sewing Needle to Your Fabric
If you’re not sure what weight your fabric is, this post might be helpful for you to see different types of fabric ranging from light to mid to heavier weights.